Island Life by David Slack

And you should hear what he called them when I turned the tape off

It would be interesting to see the polling numbers the Government are reading. I wonder exactly how much better they expect things to be in the Maori seats if they can keep their marauding MP inside the tent. And what’s he calling his colleagues today after the ritual non-smacking? Frontbums, or soft-cocks?

I just wonder whether the Maori seats are already gone. In 1996 New Zealand First just rolled through them. I don’t know whether that startled Labour and its pollsters at the time, but it sure as hell appeared to startle the media with the exception of the ones who had been listening to the Maori radio stations.

I just hope that in all the excitement people don’t pass up the opportunity to explore one of the more interesting aspects of the whole saga, namely the manoeuvrings of sometime moon-howler Ian Wishart. People love to accuse any old reporter of having an “agenda” and it generally seems an overstatement, but in this case the relatively strategic nature of the whole business suggests the designs of someone with dreams of a New Zealand cut from an altogether stiffer patriarchal cloth than most of us would want to wear.

Still, his staged publication technique got me thinking: was there anything from the interview I had with John Tamihere for Bullshit Backlash and Bleeding Hearts that I’d left behind which might be interesting to haul out into the light a year later?

Well blow me down – look what I found:

I’ll tell you this – if Helen doesn’t get the arse in the next twelve months, I’m out of here. Mike Moore told Clayton Cosgrove the party wouldn’t last into the new century if it didn’t cut loose from the date-packers and tree-huggers.

As if. He said not a word of the sort. And nothing on the holocaust, either, mercifully. He had some good cogent stuff to say about the Treaty and how we were dealing with it. Helen Bain was there and whether her influence had anything to do with it or not, I don’t know, but Good John seemed to be hogging all the limelight.

He did have one interesting thing to say, though, that didn't appear in the book. I mentioned that someone else had argued that the Treaty relationship was – at that time - toxic because it was focusing on the dysfunctional nature of the relationship instead of contemplating how it might become productive.

Good John – perhaps with a bit of input from Bad John - thought that wasn’t a good way to look at it:

You’d never want to psychoanalyse your family to that extent. Because you’d probably accept that some of them should be committed. The more you focus on families with issues, the greater the issues become.

I wonder if he spent a bit of time in caucus urging them to take a care-in-the-community approach in his case. Whatever he said, he’s free for now. It’s hard to think, though, that any of them will be saying good night John Boy with any affection for a long time yet.